Website SEO Checklist
Perform your SEO audit and begin making improvements to your website
1. Review website’s navigation and site structure.
Focus on pleasing the visitors and the search engines. Practical navigation links and URLs will make the journey throughout your website easy for both the visitor and the search engine crawlers.
2. Review and improve page content.
Make sure your page content is focused on the visitor and providing them with the information they are looking for. Include keywords in your content by focusing on your target market and the terminology they will be using to search for the product, resources, or content you offer. A great way to add unique and resourceful website content is through a blog.
3. Create meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions are meant to provide concise explanations of the content of web pages. They are commonly used on search engine result pages to display preview snippets for a given page. Meta descriptions should include keywords, but also create a unique description that a searcher will want to click. The description should optimally be between 150-160 characters.
4. Include image alt attributes.
The alt attribute is used to describe the contents of an image file. It provides search engines with useful information about the subject matter of the image. Alt text is used to provide descriptive information to users with visual impairments, people using screen readers, or those with low-bandwidth connections.
5. Develop an external link building strategy.
Getting external links is one of the most important objectives for attaining high search rankings. If another website links to you, this is considered an external link to your site. The trustworthiness, popularity, and relevancy of the page that links to your site are all very important. Great ways to gain valuable external links include creating high quality content that people will want to share, guest blogging, and promotion on relevant websites. The tool Open Site Explorer (http://www.opensiteexplorer.org/) provides detailed data on your, and your competitors’, internal and external links.
6. Set up Google Webmaster Tools.
Google Webmaster Tools (http://www.google.com/webmasters/) provides detailed reports about your pages’ visibility on Google. It will inform you of errors Google may be having crawling your site, missing page titles, duplicate content, and other technical problems. Google Webmaster Tools also provides and comprehensive data about internal and external links to your site.
7. Check your Robots.txt file.
Robots.txt is a text file that webmasters create to instruct robots (typically search engine robots) how to crawl and index pages on your website. The Robots.txt file allows a site owner to restrict robot access to a page. You must be careful implementing this because, if done incorrectly, search engines may be disallowed to crawl the site.
8. Submit an XML sitemap to search engines.
A sitemap is a list of the pages on your website that tells search engines about pages they might not otherwise discover. Creating and submitting a sitemap helps make sure search engines know about all the pages on your site, including URLs that may not be discoverable by normal crawling processes.
9. Set up and interact on social media accounts.
Activity on social media sites is becoming a key aspect of digital marketing and SEO. While SEO experts are still unsure of how search engines use social media to rank sites, it is clear that it social media status and interaction does play a part in ranking. It appears interacting and gaining +1s on Google + can be very helpful to SEO.
10. Set up Google Authorship.
With Google authorship an author can link content they publish on a specific domain to their personal Google+ profile. Once the connect has been made, every time the author’s content appears in search results it will be accompanied by a rich snippet containing the author’s Google Plus profile picture, name, and number of circles they are in. Studies have found that rich snippets greatly increase click through rates, trust, and credibility.
11. Test website speed.
Website speed is part of Google’s search ranking algorithms. Site speed affects both user satisfaction, website bounce rate, and search rankings.
12. Make sure website is optimized for mobile.
Again, SEO is about pleasing both the users and the search engines. Mobile usage is quickly becoming the standard for web searching. Google has stated that they prefer responsive design techniques, and many users will instantly leave a site that doesn’t function properly on a mobile device.
13. Set up Google Analytics.
Google analytics (http://www.google.com/analytics/) can help you understand multiple things about your site and help you improve your SEO and user experience. With the ability to track behavioral data and conversions on your website you can improve your digital strategy and learn what improvements may need to be made to specific pages on your website.
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